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Table 3 Decision making characteristics by most important ELD and educational attainment*

From: Is educational attainment related to end-of-life decision-making? A large post-mortem survey in Belgium

  Intensified alleviation of pain and symptoms Non-treatment decisions Euthanasia/assisted suicide Life-ending without explicit request
    Higher none/ Lower Higher    Higher None/ Lower Higher
None/ Lower secondary/ primary secondary secondary/ None/ Lower secondary/ primary secondary secondary/
primary secondary Higher    Higher primary secondary higher    higher
  n = 380 n = 257 n = 263 n = 196 n = 95 n = 108 n = 17 n = 42 n = 39 n = 27 n = 9 n = 12
Discussed with patient** 21 28 24 15 28 16 100 100 100 18 45 31
…and explicit request by patient 15 17 18 10 6 10 100 100 100 0 0 0
Not discussed with patient 79 72 76 85 72 84 0 0 0 82 55 69
…but patient competent 10 16 11 3 2 7 - - - 4 0 7
…but ever wish stated by patient 9 14 13 16 10 24 - - - 44 14 0
…but discussed with family 44 44 48 52 49 57 - - - 76 29 63
Discussed with patient nor family 35 28 28 33 22 26 0 0 0 6 27 7
Discussed with colleague(s) 33 38 42 45 57 55 42 70 86 64 47 42
Discussed with PC specialist 21 22 28 12 12 21 30 52 51 7 18 11
  1. *Figures are percentages adjusted for age and sex, expressed to all non-sudden deaths, and weighted for representativeness.
  2. End-of-life decisions in this table are the most important decision, ie only one decision per death.
  3. Percentages in italic denote significant (χ2) differences between education levels, underlined percentages indicate multivariately significant differences (p < .05, no Bonferoni correction). Variables entered in multivariate logistic regression model: educational attainment, age, sex, marital status, cause of death; no interaction effects.
  4. PC: palliative care.
  5. **euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are by definition always discussed with the patient.